Rapberry Pies and DVMega / Bluestack HotSpot Toys!

My Raspberry PI / DMR Stack

Been spending a lot of time on DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) these days. Recently ordered a DVMega / Bluestack Node and have been having a ball chatting with people all over the World.

As a matter of fact I had a very nice TAC311 QSO with HL5KY in Korea on 2/4 @ 22:20 hours.

The black PI is a PI3 Mod B where I run my Web Server, custom firmware for the Tytera MD380 called MD380 Tools and do some crazy Java Coding.

The clear PI is a PI2 and I experiment with all kinds of code like the unsupported BlueDV console for the BlueStack Node.

And of course the top of the stack is the HotSpot. Right now the console is an Nexus 7 tablet running Andriod with the BlueDV console. Pleas note my HIGH TECH way of keeping the STACK together!!!

If you are interested in finding out more about DMR, you can listen to DMR Ham Radio Operators talk on the various talk groups. A good place to start is to listen to talk group 3100.

Most of all have fun! 73 KE2YK

 

 

 

Andy KB1OIQ’s Ham Radio Apps Update

ARRL Centennial Challenge Coin Art FINAL

IMHO, one of the things I enjoyed most about the ARRL Centennial Convention in 2014 were the Amateur Radio related forums I attended on a ton of different topics.

One of the forums I attended was Andy’s KB1OIQ’s presentation on his remastered version of Amateur Radio applications running on Ubuntu Linux.

There are a bunch of these remixes like ShackBox floating around but I really enjoyed his presentation and his dedication to his project. Back then I downloaded and ran the version available at that time. It seems that his work continues to be popular since the current SourceForge page shows that he’s had almost 700 downloads just this week.

Tux

TUX

Andy now has both a 32-bit and 64-bit version which contain a host of Ham Radio software like Fldigi, NBEMS, Gpredict and many more. Andy’s version 19 matches up with the Ubuntu 14.04.4 LTS release.

As with Andy’s past versions, the GUI desktop is customized with menus for Amateur Radio use. Andy has gone through great pains to make the distribution lightweight so that it will also run on older computer hardware.

Interested? Hop over to Sourceforge and grab Andy’s latest download!

Install DV4Mini Console On Raspberry PI

DV4mini Console SoftwareAs a retired ‘NIX Systems Admin I still have to find out what makes things tick.

So I decided to build a Raspberry Pi 2 model B using a 32Gb Micro USB Card and the vanilla copy of Raspian Jessie 8 into a fully working DV4mini Console.

I used Putty with the DHCP provided IP address to run raspi-config expanding the file system and to change default localization settings.

Then it was on to installing x11vnc so I could work from my Windoze desktop using Tightvnc. Next it was getting the Edimax Wireless card online. From there I installed Mono 4.0 (Note: an 8GB Micro USB Card will run out of space while installing Mono 4.0) and finally the DV4Mini Console.

Since I created a series of crib sheets, I put a home-brew forum together as a central repository for my notes.

For those interested, go straight to my work-in-progress forum at KE2YK’s Ham Radio and Systems Forum. BTW, You don’t need to register to poke around its contents.

72 and 73,
Gary KE2YK Email me for additional help!

Digital Voice? A Replacement For SSB?

According to this article, Amateur Radio is now transitioning from analog to digital voice. This is similar to the 1950’s – 60’s transition from AM to SSB it goes on to say. Suppose one company held the patent for SSB back then and forced you into their technology. Amateurs would be under their control indefinitely! As we all know, that is going on with digital voice right now.

Enter FreeDV. FreeDV is a GUI application for Windows, Linux and MacOS (BSD and Android in development) that allows any SSB radio to be used for low bit rate digital voice.

Find out more about FreeDV Here!

 

 

Fire Sale! Windows 8 Goes The Way of the Dodo!

What is Windows BlueIt’s hard to imagine but an article I read the other day on InfoWorld’s Tech Watch has revealed that Windows 8 is going to be replaced by Windows Blue this summer.

The article goes on to say that BestBuy has already slashed its prices on Windows 8 computers by $100 because they are overloaded with Windows 8 systems and want to  make way for Blue.

Read More Here! http://wp.me/p1rtTO-cc

GNOME 3 Project and LINUX in the Ham Shack

GNOME - 10 Years Of Freedom

Hey I got a chance to jump on USTREAM Tuesday  night and watch Russ and Richard do their thing over at LINUX in the Ham Shack. Yup they were live!

It was interesting to go behind the scenes to see what went on  during the breaks. Those are the spots where podcast listeners only hear the cool music that Russ provides.   The making of episode 35  took the better part of 2 hours to produce. Once again, Richard and Russ did an outstanding job of providing information to us information junkies and open source crazies.

Although Linux In The Ham Shack Episode 35 did not directly discuss LINUX or Ham Radio apps , the guys did conduct a very interesting phone interview with Stormy Peters the Executive Director of the GNOME (pronounced GA-NOME) Desktop Project.

Stormy  was very informative and talked a bit about her position and responsibilities as Executive Director and provided insight into how the not- for-profit organization operates its levers behind the curtain. I was unaware of the fact that about 40% of the GNOME developers are paid staff while the balance are volunteer,  open source crazies like you and I.

Another intersting point that Stormy made was that the GNOME  GTK (GNOME Tool Kit) is widely used to develop variations of the standard GNOME Desktop release and is placed on netbooks, cell phones and scientific (medical) instruments.

Stormy also provided some insight into the coming release of GNOME 3. BTW you can download and install the shell now but the official release date will be around Q3 of this year.

The GNOME project has no direct control over when a new release of GNOME desktop will be integrated into OS’es but you will most likely see it bundled in the next release of UBUNTU.

So if you have not taken the opportunity to check out LINUX in the Ham Shack, take a spin over to the site. Russ is constantly making improvements to the site and just like like fine wine, the site continues to improve with age.

LINUX In The Ham Shack? You Bet!

linux in the ham shack

LINUX and Ham Software Podcasts

Even though I am a veteran ‘NIX Systems Engineer, I still enjoy messing around with LINUX and have been doing just that since the days when rolling your own kernel” was required. Mixing LINUX and Ham Radio applications together is a place where I like to go to get my hands dirty (like that 55 Chevy I owned a  lifetime ago).

Recently, I re-introduced myself to the awesome Linux In The Ham Shack Web site and their outstanding podcasts. Russ k5tux and Richard kb5jbv run LHS (among a number of other sites). How they manage all those sites and find time to create the LHS podcasts is beyond me! I have enough trouble trying to post something new to the blog on a monthly basis. I know, I know,  “yeah… you can say that again!”

Richard’s Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) drawl and colorful expressions are a gas to listen to. Richard provides comic relief during the podcasts and Russ is the straight man who takes much fun poking (or is that cow poking) from Richard in stride.

Among the banter and Richard’s unusual expressions (at least they are unique up here in NEW YAWK), the guys do an outstanding job introducing newbies to LINUX. The reason I enjoy listening to their podcasts so much and reading over their show notes is the introduction I receive about the wide array of LINUX variants (varmints as I call them) and numerous Ham Radio apps that are discussed in detail.

Since I am way past the point of basics, I listen up to see what Russ and Richard are going to introduce in each espisode.  Recently, through one of their podcasts, I found out about Shackbox written by F0FAK. Shackbox is a work in progress but the quantity of working Ham Radio apps the author has packed into the  “AIR” release is truly amazing. How much  packing you ask? Well as I remember, the “LIVECD” can only be burned to a DVD because it is about 2.4 Gb in size. I will cover some of the Shackbox details in a future post.

Like other live CD’s or should I say live DVD’s, the contents can optionally be installed on your hard drive. If you want to go that route (which is what I’d recommend), the disk partitioner packed with Shackbox offers an option to co-exist with your Windoze installation. Use caution here and proceed at your own risk!

In any event, if you are interested in LINUX and Ham Radio applications,  a visit over to LINUX in the Ham Shack will provide a wealth of information for both the LINUX newbie as well as the verteran interested in the happenings of the open source community.

Newer Concepts In Amateur Radio

About 2 years ago W7DXX Keith Lamonica and W4MQ Stan Schretter developed and implemented a new concept called IRB. (Internet Remote Base). IRB operates on both on HF and VHF amateur radio frequencies.

The intent of IRB is to expand the utility and use of any ham radio station by making it available to all hams on a worldwide basis. On a typical day, licensed hams from all over the world access theses systems.

Operating IRB is similar to the remote front panel of a mobile radio. Think of the cabling and a mic cords as thousands of miles away. The remote head becomes the desktop on you computer and the keyboard becomes the knob and switch replacements.

IRB Remote Desktop

Unkile Echolink and IRLP which only work with FM repeaters, IRB offers full  control of the remote station. All IRB operated radio functions are made available to the licensed ham. Those functions include ssb,am,fm,cw,psk31 modes, amplifier setup and control as well as selecting and rotating antennas.

More technical details are available in the back issues of QST. 11/2001 and 11/2002. You can also find out much more about IRB at www.w4mq.com.

Why Linux/OSS for Amateur Radio?

Fight The Power! AA6E recently posted a very nice article about LINUX Open Source Software and Ham Radio on his blog.  I appreciate this more than others. Here’s why!

The Power of LINUX and OSS

FIGHT THE POWER!

During my long journey as an IT Engineer, there were many under-the-radar “Skunk Works style projects” where I implemented OSS on LINUX.  However,  I was considered a corporate  techno-anarchist of sorts because LINUX and OSS fell outside the scope of the corporate mind-set ( not that there was ever much of that anyway).

Here’s a subset of AA6E’s first paragragh. Take a minute to read it and then follow the link to the remainder of the article.

How to explain to a non-computer-geek ham what Open Source Software and Linux are all about? OSS and Linux are important to software users the same way a good repair manual and schematics are important to hams. Not every ham knows what to do with schematics, but those who are inclined to open up, understand, repair, and modify their equipment certainly do.

Before you jump off, there’s two ideas I want to mention. Of course,  it assumes you are interested in digging the old P4 out of the closet and loading the very best KERNEL of all time.

One choice is to download and burn yourself a copy of CENTOS.  CENTOS is what we in the trade call whitebox Redhat. In a nutshell, CENTOS is an exact replica of Redhat with a huge advantage. Since it’s been totally recompiled and is freely distributed, you don’t need a subscription to get the O/S and package updates. What’s the drawback then?

Keep in mind though that CENTOS is not an O/S for those who want nothing more that another plug an play environment like the one you are probably using right now. There is some work involved to make certain things work (like plug-ins inside of Firefox).

Hence, the second recommendation for the experimenter in you. UBUNTU is also a 100% free and open source operating system. There are variants for normal desktop use (for hams) and an educational and children’s version as well.

What??? UBUNTU? Where does that come from?

Ubuntu is an African concept of ‘humanity towards others’. It is ‘the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity’.

While I have not been digging around on the UBUNTU site lately, I have experimented with it in the past.  Since I am the ultimate techno-nerd, I gravitate toward choice number one.

As I recall, you can submit a request for your very own copy of the O/S on the Website and  receive it for free – nada – zilch ! Yep – no strings.  Of course you can also download and burn yourself  a copy. For the plug and play oriented crowd this O/S will bring you closer to the wonderful world of Windoze.

I always ask for comments guys!  Some are very generous while others are the meek of the earth. For god sakes… if you have something to say about LINUX or OSS, go for it!  Use a fake name if you want. It’s all for the betterment of the Ham community at large.

If you can’t say too much enter “like” or “dislike” in the comment field (believe me, I have thick German skin and a skull to match! You would have to go a great distance to offend my poor writing skills or lack of subject matter!).

Read AA6E’s full article here…

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